EditorsNote: resent for minor fixes
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and added 10 rebounds and 10 assists to record his third triple-double as the Milwaukee Bucks built a big lead and warded off a late comeback attempt by the visiting Brooklyn Nets in a 129-115 victory Saturday.
Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks finish off their seventh win in eight games by scoring eight straight points down the stretch after the Nets were within 116-109 on a short jumper by Shabazz Napier with 4:51 remaining.
The Bucks finished the game with a 13-6 run highlighted by Antetokounmpo. He hit two mid-range jumpers, two layups, including one when he made a crafty move around Napier, and hit the right-handed layup around Jared Dudley with 1:58 left for a 126-113 lead.
Antetokounmpo then finished off his 12th career triple-double in a span of five seconds by getting the defensive rebound of Napier’s 3-pointer and getting the assist on a 3-pointer by Khris Middleton with 1:22 left.
Middleton added 29 points and seven assists while former Nets center Brook Lopez hit seven 3-pointers and contributed 24 as the Bucks shot 49 percent and finished with 21 3-pointers, one shy of the team record.
Napier led the Nets by tying a career high with 32 points as Brooklyn’s reserves totaled 80 points. Kenneth Faried added 21 points and 10 rebounds in his most extensive playing time of the season while DeMarre Carroll added 18 as the Nets shot 48.1 percent.
The Nets lost their second straight since Wednesday’s double-overtime win over Charlotte. Brooklyn also lost for only the third time in its last 12 games since Dec. 5.
The Nets rested starting guard D’Angelo Russell and reserve forward Ed Davis. They also played without Allen Crabbe (sore right knee) and lost Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to a right adductor strain in the first quarter.
Milwaukee hit 14 3-pointers in the first half, scored 42 points in the second quarter and held a 71-52 lead by halftime. Lopez hit three 3-pointers while Middleton knocked down a pair as the Bucks closed out the half with a 21-9 spurt over the final 4:34.
The Nets made a slight dent in the lead by getting within 75-64 on an 11-footer by Spencer Dinwiddie with 9:47 left in the third quarter. Milwaukee countered with an 18-5 run to take a 93-69 lead on Lopez’s seventh 3-pointer with 5:23 left and held a 106-86 edge into the fourth.
—Field Level Media